Chicago Auto Show
February 6, 2020
MotorWeek is in the windy city for the 112th edition of the Chicago Auto Show.
Ford is going full throttle with upgrades to the 2020 Ford GT supercar. The GT’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 now pumps out 660-horsepower. Larger intercoolers keep that powerful engine operating at peak performance even during strenuous heated sessions at the track. Air flow increases by 50-percent. Titanium exhaust from Akrapovič is now standard creating a sound that makes it very clear you’re driving a Ford GT.
Nissan is tapping into Americans’ love of pick-up trucks with the 2020 Nissan Frontier. 2021 marks the beginning of the next gen Frontier, but this last model year of the current generation is already getting key components of the new truck. The new 310-horsepower 3.8-liter direct injection V6 engine offers an additional 49-horsepower over the previous Frontier V6. It’s matched with an all-new 9-speed automatic transmission. Sales begin in the spring.
Toyota is beefing up their 2021 truck and SUV line-up. Their first Highlander XSE debuted with bolder new looks inside and out and a specially tuned suspension and steering for a sportier experience. Trail Special Editions of the Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner are more adventurous with more rugged looks and wheels designed for off-roading. Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia are being added to the Toyota’s list of models offering the dark hues of Nightshade Special Editions.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica becomes more sure-footed offering all-wheel drive. When the extra traction is not needed, the power transfer unit and rear drive module automatically disconnect. The new Pacifica will come equipped with the all-new Uconnect 5 system featuring a 10.1-inch touchscreen and the ability to bring Amazon Alexa along for the ride. They arrive in dealers by the end of the year.
The fresh new styling of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata is becoming more eco-friendly with a Hybrid model. The 2.0-liter I-4 and electric motor produce a total system output of 192-horsepower with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 52 mpg combined for the Blue trim. Sonata Hybrid’s eco credentials go even further with a solar-panel roof that charges the 12-volt and hybrid batteries. Hyundai says that can increase mileage by about 2 miles per day, while reducing the drain on the battery by the infotainment or HVAC systems when the car is off.
Kia’s largest sedan, the Cadenza gets a fresher look for 2020. The enhanced exterior begins up front, and stretches over the hood and trunk before reaching the rear. Premium trim is gone leaving Technology and Limited model options. The new image for the dash and instrument cluster include a standard 4.2-inch TFT color screen in the instrument panel, and a new 12.3-inch touchscreen. Driver-assisted technology also advances with “Sensor Fusion” combining Forward Collision Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with pedestrian/cyclist detection as standard.
A refreshed 2020 Honda Civic Type R makes its U.S. debut in Chicago. Along with the styling tweaks this racy Civic rides on a revised suspension, has more stopping power with upgraded brakes, and comes standard with Honda Sensing safety and driver-assistive technologies.
Corporate cousin Acura is highlighting their Super Handling All-Wheel Drive Technology. Debuting 16 years ago, one million Acura vehicles in North America have been equipped the extra traction capabilities.
A facelifted 2021 Volkswagen Atlas took a bow. The refresh includes a bit bolder front and rear fascias. New bumper designs add 3 inches to the overall length. The two powertrain options remain the same, but the 235-horsepower turbo four-cylinder can now be equipped with 4Motion and the top trims. Sales begin in the spring.
The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox gets a make-over, with redesigned front and rear fascias. The sporty RS trim also comes to Chevrolet’s compact utility. That brings a gloss black grille, 19-inch dark android wheels and plenty of black accents to the Equinox model line.
The Jeep Gladiator Mojave is the brand’s first Desert Rated vehicle. That goes beyond the legendary off-road reputation… to high-speed off-road capability and more prowess in the sand. To do that, the Gladiator Mojave comes equipped with special hardware, including specially-tuned FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs, a reinforced frame, stronger axles, and a one-inch front suspension lift, a silver front skid plate, and 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-terrain tires. This rugged desert runner hits showrooms later this year.
After wowing audiences in Europe, the 2021 Jaguar F-TYPE made its North American debut. The iconic British 2-seater is even more refined with an exterior that blends a sculpted touch with assertiveness. There are three engine options powering this British beauty: four, six, and eight-cylinders ranging from 296-hp to 575-hp. They’re all matched with an eight-speed Quickshift transmission. Tradition mixes with technology with a new 12.3-inch HD virtual instrument cluster, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Mercedes-Benz Weekender is their first pop up camper for the U.S. Based on the Metris platform, the Weekender sleeps 4… the elevated roof creates room for two of them. The front seats rotate 180-degrees for recreational style living. A second battery provides the power for lighting up those evenings in the great outdoors.